Posted by Ancestry Team on April 21, 2008 in Family Tree Maker

I have seen a number of questions about the Family Tree Maker 2008 SP3 update over the past few days. I know that the development team is closing in on finalizing this patch. I’ve delivered three versions of the patch to both our alpha and beta teams. The input has been very positive. A fourth SP3 candidate will also likely be delivered to both groups. I apologize that some of my initial estimates of release dates for SP3 were off. The development team is taking the necessary time to ensure a stable and meaningful patch release.

Below is a list of enhancements and bug fixes currently included in SP3:

Enhancements/New features:

  • Major enhancements to performance, improvements including:
    • Startup time
    • File load time
    • Report/Chart creation time
    • General navigation
    • Memory usage
  • Major enhancements to stability throughout the program
  • Book layout in charts for:
    • Descendant Chart
    • Hourglass Chart
    • Vertical Pedigree Chart
  • Ability to create saved versions for all charts and reports
  • Ability to apply predefined templates for charts
  • Ability to save user created templates for charts
  • Enhancements to place interactions, including:
    • New Change Place Name dialog allowing for easier changing of place name and description information
    • Double-clicking and right clicking additions to the Places workspace
  • New Find-and-Replace dialog with additional ability to search with wildcards and to specify where to search in and enhanced information showing where the item was found.
  • Major enhancements to the Analyze/Compact file functionality
  • Outline Descendant report has Items to Include options
  • Inclusion of Married Name AKA and Titles in index
  • Automatic simple backup at shutdown
  • Ability to turn off place authority searching when entering place names
  • Enhancements to the RTF export
  • Ability to add boxes in charts to a “Marked Box” category and modify box settings for these boxes
  • Preparer Information in the footer for charts
  • Options to include spouses and children in filtering and exporting  of people

Major enhancements to Sources including:

People Workspace

  • Copy and paste source-citations.  After copying (from source-citation dialog or sources toolbar), you can paste a duplicate source-citation or a link to the existing one via the “New” source menu.
  • Ability to copy source-citation at creation for pasting

Sources Workspace

  • Double-clicking on a source title in the “Sources” workspace displays the “Edit Source Title” dialog for easier editing of sources in this view.
  • Double-clicking on a repository in the “Sources” workspace displays the “Edit Repository” dialog for easier editing of repositories in this view.
  • Right-mouse menus have been added to the left panel.

Repository Dialog

  • The “Repository” dialog is resizable.

Source Title Dialog

  • The “Source Title” dialog includes a usage button that displays usage for that source (This is redundant in the “Source” workspace, but useful elsewhere).
  • The “Source Title” dialog is resizable.

Source-Citation Dialog

  • The “Source-Citation” dialog is resizable
  • The “Source-Citation” dialog includes a reference to the number of linked facts.
  • Addition of a copy button (see copy and paste source-citations above).

Find Source-Citation Dialog

  • The option to “Link To Existing Source-Citation” is changed to “Use Existing Source-Citation.”  Then there are two buttons in the resulting “Find Source-Citation” dialog.  After finding and selecting a source-citation the user can choose “Link To Citation” or “Copy New Citation”.  The link option does the same as “OK” did before and the new copy option adds another easy way to create a duplicate source-citation.
  • Performance when listing by people is greatly improved.
  • The “View by” setting is remembered so that if you view by source title for example, it comes up that way the next time.
  • Left and right panels are sized proportionally when the dialog is resized.

List of some of the higher priority bugs that have been fixed:


  • Made default settings more like FTM 16 default settings.
  • Changes made in Box, Border, and Line Options don’t force a chart reload unless necessary.
  • Export to image decreases the resolution (DPI) of the image if the image is very large.
  • Charting uses less memory.
  • Charting draws faster.
  • Saved chart dates and times work for international dates.
  • The User Interface recognizes metric regions and sizes are shown in centimeters or millimeters for Metric regions.
  • Improved drawing and scaling of the “Advanced” layout for Standard Pedigree charts in Poster layout.
  • Background colors stay in synchronization which background images changes and vice-versa.
  • Facts that are description centric, such as AKA, now default to options that are meaningful.
  • Miscellaneous UI changes such as hiding the “Advanced” button when in book layout or not in Standard Pedigree charts.
  • Improved loading time for Box, Border, and Line Options dialog, Fonts Dialog, and Page Setup.
  • Improved pedigree line drawing for special conditions such as parent box smaller than child box in a Standard Pedigree.
  • Improved the restoring of box sizes on reload or opening a saved chart.
  • File dialog restores to last directory used.
  • Quick Print Dialog did not have the correct values in the header control.
  • Selected boxes in charts have “more emphasis” to show that they are selected.
  • Improved displaying of all Shared Facts.
  • Improved drawing speed and memory usage for pedigree lines in the pedigree chart.
  • Improved drawing of pedigree lines in the pedigree chart by calculating the overlap and thus finding a new “center” point.
  • The <LINE> “fact” or divider line can now be a different color and width than the pedigree line. This makes it possible to do some nice contrast inside of the person box.
  • If a fact is changed it is picked up in the chart. The chart doesn’t reload and often the fact change is such that this doesn’t matter. If the chart does need to be regenerated there is now a generate button too.
  • Saving of POSTER size images of all types of charts. (Export Image)
  • Gradient box fill ability. Note that some printers can’t handle gradient and transparent at the same time.
  • Throttle the chart size after 14 generations for Pedigree charts in poster layout. All other charts have a 99 generation limit now. Charts over 13 generations will set the spacing to collapsed.


  • RTF output is not easily editable
  • Photo album excludes non-image media items.
  • Title includes primary person automatically for some reports
  • Ahnentafel Report – blank lines between end notes
  • Ahnentafel Report – disappears when checking Use short biographies
  • Ahnentafel report – name and sex fact notes don’t display
  • Export to RTF, data fields are underlined
  • Individual Report – Name options don’t apply to all names
  • Outline Descendant Report – export to RTF includes weird characters
  • Outline Descendant Report – Items to include, include blank facts not working
  • Outline Descendant Report – name of focus person not in title
  • Place Usage Report – missing fact labels
  • Register Report – Also Known As not displaying correctly
  • Register Report – names in all caps
  • Register Report – not seeing Name fact note
  • Register Report and Ahnentafel Report – information repeating
  • Report Titles not updating
  • Spouse sorting in individual report is fixed
  • Civil and Canon values in Kinship report is fixed
  • Individual report sorting spouses incorrectly
  • Notes do not appear correctly in reports
  • Bold, Italic, & Underline in notes don’t appear in Individual Report
  • Photo album report – images per row setting not working
  • Documented Facts Report – non-preferred facts not appearing, their sources are
  • Photo Album Report – blanks out with non-image media items
  • Photo Album Report – sorting images (images are now sorted by caption and filename)
  • Kinship Report – sorting individuals
  • Register Report – crash saving report
  • Research Note Report – not displaying bold, underline & italic in notes
  • Relationship Report not working in People module
  • Photo Album not working in People module
  • Individual report displays preferred name for all name facts.
  • Fixed numbering problem in Outline Descendant report

Find and Replace

  • Clicking stop before results are found messes up what gets found and results in a crash
  • Can’t find words with punctuation at the end
  • Certain characters (<>) caused the found text to not be displayed
  • Crash navigating to people collection after “Go To” from find and replace
  • Change all place names dialog pops up even if there is only 1 fact associated with a place
  • Can click find and replace when there is no tree loaded

Copy/Paste Sources

  • Pasting Link/Copy to a source causes problems with the reference note
  • Pasting a duplicate source doesn’t copy the source note
  • Paste option not active on facts that have no data
  • Ability to copy source from Manage Source view added

File Merge

  • Marriage fact of preferred spouse was shown for all spouses in the host file
  • Improved people matching
  • File merge creates multiple relationships for the same person
  • FTM crashes when merging creates a recursive relationship (i.e. child is his own father)
  • Improved matching accuracy and performance when files are derivatives of each other

Web Merge

  • Crash when changing a place name in web search and then merging
  • Clicking on “Create Page Archive” before Web Search is completely loaded crashes FTM
  • Source not added to sex fact if default merge settings were changed
  • Added drop-down to select a different source title when editing source
  • Web Merge Wizard dialog doesn’t display the correct instructions when merging images and notes (but no facts/people)
  • Crash when editing a screen scraped place name and then trying to merge
  • Multiple copies of the same media being saved to the media folder when merging the same record multiple times


  • People filter updated to be more correct
  • Crash after compact then backing up fixed
  • Gedcom export was doing certain fact types (description only, etc.)
  • Export of living people no longer uses Living as their name. It keeps the name but hides all other facts.
  • “Approximately” or “Approx.” should be recognized as “Abt. for dates
  • Britain resolve place name selection of United Kingdom clears field
  • If the history is empty it shows the same names as index
  • Program crashes when you delete a person from the History panel
  • Edit source dialog/Reference note doesn’t display citation text when is should
  • Children sorting in family panel  fixed
  • Change place name issues resolved (crashes when adding just description and other problems)
  • Modified reference notes correctly imported
  • Scrolling problem in source list in person view
  • “Approximately” or “Approx.” now recognized as “Abt. for dates
  • Relationship information now showing up in English installs in non-English speaking countries
  • Crash when merging two people together, sometimes
  • Crash when changing person’s name due to Operating System audio driver crash
  • Crash when adding sources – it may crash one more time, then on restart fix the problem
  • Crash when adding media types .gif and .ICO
  • Fixes to resolving place names without a city name
  • Non-preferred facts show up in reports
  • Problems importing sources from FTM 2005 files
  • Marriage data not showing in hourglass chart
  • Ahnentafel numbers are not correct
  • Export not working when “Include private Facts” deselected.
  • Exporting a subset of people still includes all places, sources, etc.
  • Resolve All Dialog doesn’t append to description it replaces the existing descry
  • Register Report shows same info for multiple spouses
  • Alternate names do not appear in the Family Group Sheet
  • Error importing v2005 file
  • Pressing the ESC key clears the data in a date or description field
  • AKA appears out of order in charts and reports
  • Media Item Report Export to .PDF not working correctly
  • Printing a Pedigree Chart from People isn’t working
  • Moving a place to a description then moves the description to the place
  • Pedigree, Descendant, Hourglass, & Vertical Pedigree Charts – settings not saved
  • Import of media caption and description is lost via PAF import
  • Source not always being added from Web Merge
  • Unknown dates not exporting to Gedcom
  • Can’t delete project after running media report – media item held open
  • UNK should be recognized when entered as a date as Unknown
  • Importing GEDCOM file with normal tags
  • Duplicate people showing up in relationship view


  1. G. Einarsson

    You have been working hard to make this as good as FTM16 and even improve it, as it should be done with a new version, so I am looking forward to install SP3. One wish for 2009 version: in install do have the map option an alternative, it do take so much space on your hard disk.
    FTM2008 appear to be on right track.

  2. Jon Sanders


    Looks like some good news for those of us actively using FTM2008. I have two questions for you:

    1) Early on you mentioned that sorting in the index would in SP3 finally add support for marriage vs maiden names. I’m hoping this did not get lost as this missing feature is really costing me lots of wasted time. I did not see it in your very detail list but might have missed it.

    2) Side issue, I get probably 5-10 crashes a week (with 5-20 hrs usage) and looking at some of the items listed I’m hoping these will go away. The good news is that the S/W restarts, does a check and all seems to be well. But my question is that Microsoft constantly asks to send them info when I get these crashes, does this info get back to FTM so that you can try to figure out what is causing these crashes? I’m willing to keep saying yes but only if it gets back to FTM.



  3. Benjamin Nettesheim


    1) Good catch. That is included in SP3 but was missing from the list. I have since added it to the list.

    2) The information is sent to Microsoft. The FTM development team does request manual pulls of this information when they look at case-by-case scenarios.

    Stability (cutting out the crashes) and performance have been the top priorities of the development team.

  4. Paul

    How do you recommend users proceed with their existing FTM 2008 files when using SP3? In other words, are they ok “as is”? Or should we import them and re-save them as new or…?

    Specifically, my concern has been with attaching media links and sources and trying like crazy to avoid duplicating media and source info (which through SP2 has not been completely possible). Thus, in order to have as ‘clean’ a file as possible do you recommend starting over as far as assigning sources and media? I’m sure it isn’t ‘necessary’ to do this, but would it help rid me of my current duplicates?

    BTW, the ‘fix list’ looks extensive and that is a great thing that so much is being addressed. I’m sure there will still be lots of people wishing for more, but at least it is a start. I see that my personal pet peave didn’t make the list: FTM uses two different file sorting criteria in the “Add media” and “Link to media” dialog boxes. e.g. the sort order for files called “Picture 3” and “Picture 12” isn’t identical in each dialog because one uses straight alphanumeric (12 before 3) and the other uses a ‘smart’ alphanumeric (3 before 12), but this is a minor issue…

  5. Bev

    I’m still working on my tree online at — I haven’t started using a desktop product. How well does this product integrate with ancestry? In particular, if I download my tree to FTM will all of my source images and photos download as well? Or will that take a lot of manual work? Can I keep an ftm tree and ancesty tree in sync, including source images and photos?

  6. Dale Chamberlain


    Bravo to the team! After seeing the list it is more understandable why SP3 is taking longer. I’m looking forward to getting this update.



  7. Benjamin Nettesheim

    More great questions. I believe many users should be fine “as is”. That said, the team has made improvements to import that better map certain fact types and read dates. Users might consider re-importing to gain this benefit.

    As for taking your online Member Tree and pulling it into Family Tree Maker, the current best option is to download a GEDCOM from Ancestry and load it into Family Tree Maker. Unfortunately this will not bring your image files with you. You can more effectively go the other direction (take your tree from Family Tree Maker, including photos attached to individuals, and upload it as a Member Tree) but true syncing between the two is currently not available. Tighter integration between the two tree building solutions is a future feature that is certainly being considered.

  8. Bob

    Benjamin, what a great job you have done with the dozens of points in your summary of SP3 changes…and it is refreshing to see you take such an active and current role is answering questions users have presented. I believe you have given many of us hope that FTM 2008 may be worth the long wait. Please keep us informed — that’s all we’ve wanted all along.

  9. West Dikman

    So many bugs! Those who said the release was unfinished were clearly right. So… why did you release it anyway?

  10. Karen

    Thank you for keeping us all informed of the up coming improvements.

    One suggestion on improving FTM for the future, would be in the area of BDM.

    Birth and Death/ Christening and Burial: before 1837 most dates are that of Christening and Burial. Having a tick option to use the christening and burial or programing a year eg before 1800, from which FTM can begin using christening and burial dates as the source of age would be an improvement. A lot of people use the christening date as the birth date or the burial as the death, so the program will display when they were alive from or determine their age at death. This can leads to errors especially when sharing information with others.

    Broken marriages are not reflected correctly on print out reports or trees as the person still displays as being married; unless a new partner or marriage has been added. I think the marriage options [Div, Sep etc] that are in the program should also be an options, that can be reflected in the reports or trees.

  11. Tom Melton

    Thank’s for the update on SP3, Benjamin. I am still using FTM2006 but am axious to upgrade to FTM2008. However, for me to do so will require that the FTM2006 to FTM2008 import process be able to import the scrapbook files into FTM2008, and in a compatible manner. What I mean by this is that I need the import process to be able to import all of the files I now have in the scrapbook into the media scheme of FTM2008. Also, many of the files in my scrapbook are being used in a “shared basis”, that is several people in the database are using the same file and this enables, among other things, for me to change the title and/or description for the file that is being applied to all those using it. In my previous attempt to use FTM2008, the import process only imported the jpg file, and those that were being used on a shared basis were instead replicated again and again for each person where they were being used.
    Unfortunately from your description of SP3, it doesn’t appear that my need will be met with this version. However, is there a plan to facilitate the correct importation in a future release, and if so, might it possibly be an SP4 candidate.
    Thank you again,

  12. Robert McCausland

    Looking forward to the release of SP3!!

    I did not see my particular looked for fix listed.
    Will the Outline Descendants Chart have the option of “Surname first and captilized” ?
    For me in a multi-paged chart it is much easier to follow a surname if it can be presented in this manner.

    Thanks! Robert McCausland

  13. Tony Knight

    I only switched to 2008 because 2006 seemed so unhappy running under Vista. I now desparately regret that this as I can rarely go more than about 20 minutes without the program either crashing or freezing and opening up anything up to 10 further windows.
    SP3 seems to be moving further and further into the future. If the beta testers find it basically stable, wouldn’t it be better to release it and get on with SP4.
    Having used FTW since version 3, I have never seen a piece of software as the current version. It should really have been renamed as it bears no relationship to earlier versions.

  14. Benjamin Nettesheim

    To answer some additional posted questions about SP3…

    I’m assuming you are referring to the tabular custom report, as in V16. This upcoming patch does not include that feature.

    In regard to the media import from previous versions… I agree that this is an area that still needs some work. The upcoming SP3 patch does not include this upgrade. You can import images, but other media that has been added to previous versions via Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) do not import. The current best options to get these imported are as follows:

    1. If the documents still exist on the person’s hard drive, simply add them to Family Tree Maker 2008 again from wherever they are.
    2. If the document exists only in FTM v16 or earlier:
    a. Open the document from within FTM v16 or earlier
    b. Choose “Save As” from the “File” menu and save a new copy on their hard drive
    c. Add the newly saved document to Family Tree Maker 2008

    Also, the Outline Descendant Report does include options for “Surname first and capitalization”

  15. Nicole

    That’s quite a list. I am sad that it’s SP3 before some of these very basic issues are being corrected, but quite happy that they are happening in such a comprehensive patch.

    I seems that most if not all of the big critical issues are being addressed in this set of fixes. While some of my pet peeves didn’t make the cut (like turning off that damned box asking me if I want to change all place names to the current one — for the umpteenth time, NO!), if I can use FTM 2008 for more than 10 minutes without a crash I will be a much happier camper.

  16. Graham

    Interesting list of fixes. However on my first scans of the list I don’t see a fix to one of the really huge bugs, which is that most of the time when you try to change the printer paper size away from the default (usually A4 in the UK) the change not only gets ignored but you end up with ‘letter’ instead.

    It does work sometimes, perhaps 5% of the time, but generally it doesn’t.

  17. Mitch

    There is such a long list of bug fixes here that I may have missed seeing a bug I reported.

    When I make a backup copy, if include media is checked, no media is included with the backup. Instead media that was only linked to on my hard drive is imported into my media folder.

    In other words … my media folder is being filled with images that I do not want to be there.

    Is this being addressed?

  18. Fran

    I am happy to see all the progress. Although I found 2008 totally unsatisfactory and returned it, within 30 days, I am interested in purchasing it again if other users find most of the bugs removed. My major concern is about speed and the internet connection. Have you tested the update with a dial up connection and has the speed improved significantly so that it is the same as that of FTM ver16. I hope that you will test this and let potential users know the true facts. There are some users who do not have access to higher speed connections. They have a right to know what to expect prior to purchase.

  19. Josie

    How about TGN releasing a downloadable trial version of FTM 2008 after each patch release? For those who purchased and returned it or never purchased it based on its reputation, it would give them a chance to check it out to see if it meets their needs.

    You might get some of the customers back if they can have a short term trial version. While this is a very long list, many people are not going to know how to get through the spin to determine whether it really will work for them. For some people, this patch will be enough. For others, it may not be but they may see enough progress that they will be more patient waiting if they know they can make an education decision before purchasing it. You could survey those who use the trial to determine their satisfaction level with the fixes/reintroduction of features. If they don’t buy it, you can get their feedback (both by questionairre and narrative) as to what areas it didn’t meet their needs. Your current customers of previous versions who have not moved to FTM 2008 are extremely important to the future of the Family Tree Maker product as well as other TGN products.

  20. Hal Smith

    Will the relationship calculator be fixed? It’s very erratic. Sometimes it finds distant cousins and other times it misses direct ancestors, particularly maternal ancestors.

  21. Benjamin Nettesheim

    A few more responses to posted questions…

    Yes… the verification box asking if you want to change all place names is still there in SP3. The crashes, however, are greatly reduced. Stability and performance have been the top goals of the development team.

    There have been improvements in the publishing and international support. There is also more flexibility in image, PDF, RTF, etc output.

    As for backing up w/ media… this is still an area where the team is looking at other options and improvements. But currently, when backing up it copies all media into the Family Tree Maker media folder and zips it up.

    Dial-up users should be fine using the SP3 patched software.

    Updating the relationship calculator is definitely something that is high on developments list, but is not something you will see in SP3.

    I hope everyone has a great weekend.

  22. Robbie

    Thank you for referring me to this blog. I will bookmark it. If you can stop the crashes, number 1, and get the merge function to work better, number 2, I am happy. I can wait for anything else.

  23. Roger Hart

    One of the most important features of FTM16 that does not appear to be present in 2008 and does not appear on your fix list, is the ancestor report to include siblings.. If you are reporting to relatives quite often to only way to do this effectively is to produce the above report as a PDF and email it to them. At the moment I have had to dump 2008 and go back to FTM16 as a result of this problem.

  24. Jonathan

    I’ve searched everywhere and still haven’t found any documentation on the plugin API. I would like to be able to develop plugins for some of the things that I need to do with FTM 2008. How do I get information on the API?

  25. Tom Melton

    Thank you very much for your prompt response regarding media import for Family Tree 2008. If I only had a few items, I would implement your suggestion to simply reinsert them. However, I have too many to consider that option. I will need to wait until Family Tree 2008 can do it for me. Will there be this capability in the future?
    Thank you again,
    Tom Melton

  26. netzband

    Thank you for asking this question and pressing him on it, because I have the same problem.

  27. Robert McCord

    Okay, so when IS this update going to be available to the public? You are talking about releasing it this year I take it?

  28. Jackie

    Wow. I am amazed that so many problems still exist with this version. I bought 2008 about a year ago and almost started crying as I tried to work through it.

    Returned it.

    I was encouraged to see a “vastly improved” version, but from these comments, it seems to be no better.

    From here, it looks like FTM hired the wrong development team.

    What if you go back to 16, hire a new team of developers who actually DO THEIR OWN FAMILY TREES, have worked in 16, and are champing at the bit to improve it?

    It seems this version was (re)designed by people who are not genealogist minded. They don’t get what matters. And now they’re so far into the process, they can’t go back to square one.

    A program running on this many patches is not a program I want to invest time working in. Sorry.

    That’s the perception from here. I will continue to work in 16 until a new version comes along.

  29. James Ralston

    As usual Benjamin, you do what you do best and nothing better: PROMISE PROMISE PROMISE. You are the very reason that we will never trust Ancestry again and never buy your garbage product. The only way we should ever think of buying again is for the company to issue a national apology to us. You have sunk to the lowest level in corporate business by the tactics you use to put this garbage out to the public. I cannot understand how you even speak on this blog, when your word is so damaged. The hardest thing to comprehend is the fact of how you and the other people in management still speak of this FTM 2008 junk as “the greatest thing to come along” on your website, even when you knew and still know it is totally flawed. How can you still feel good about suckering people into to buying this crap? You don’t seem to learn from your prior mistakes and just keep on putting your foot in your mouth. Just do one simple thing, quit your promises and tell us straight up when this garbage is going to be fixed. I would like to see how this crap works without crashing on a daily basis.

  30. Marc Swingler

    I don’t care what “upgrades” Ancestry thinks it made. The site is slow to the point of zero utility. So, how does it feel, as an employee of this website, to be as useful as a can opener on a desert island?

  31. Jonathan

    Count me as one of the many who have switched to using Legacy instead of FTM. As a developer and a genealogist I can safely say that this product sucks. Can you convince me and nearly everyone else that I’m wrong?

  32. Benjamin Nettesheim

    Charts and reports is certainly an area the team is looking at for future improvements.

    One question centered on the FTM API. A version of the API was available for a short time, but a decision was made to pull resources off of the API creation and put them into improving Family Tree Maker first. As a result, we are not currently supporting an FTM API. It will likely be looked at in the future.

    I do recognize that the manual media import of non-images from previous versions of FTM is not the best option for users with many files. The team is aware of this and has it on their list of possible future enhancements.

    Looking at the progress of all teams I am still hopeful the update will be released this week or next. Please remember that this is my estimate. The teams will take the necessary time to ensure a stable and meaningful patch release.

  33. Merritt Chance

    First I find that FTM CD’s I brought several years ago are not compatible with FTM 2008 . WHY UPDATE IF YOU CANT USE PAST FTM Programs??? When asked to respond too me of your reply’s is it impossible to put ANYTHING between the lines, as asked.
    Think you should not have released FTM 2008 until it was an improvement..
    I’m advising everyone I know DON”T get FTM 2008, but look at Rootweb or Reunion

  34. Susan

    I just bought FTM 2008 today. I have installed it and transfered my research (1224 names, all documented) into it. I downloaded the patch that is available at this time. After reading these comments, I’m a bit worried. I thought I bought a user-ready program. I rely heavily on FTM to track my research. What is going on? When the new patch is issued, am I going to have to scramble to make things work? I am not computer savvy, I am limited on time and I do this for relaxation……help

  35. Iris Stone

    Will this SP3 for Family Tree Maker correct the softwares problem of makeing GEDCOM files to share with other people who do not have FTM software? My 2008 will not make a regular GEDCOM file for sharing. Before the 2008 this was possible; what went wrong?????????

  36. Hal Courchesne

    I’ve used FTM since version 1 and have never had as many problems with this program as FTM 2008. I can’t work more than 5 mins with the program without it crashing. I sure hope this SP fixes that issue because right now I am ready to use “any” other program. By the way NONE of the “suggestions” from tech support work. They blame the computer rather than admit any issues with the program. Funny how no other computer programs on my system crash like this.

  37. bromaelor

    I’d quite like the ability to register the version I already have!! Then I might be able to use it fully!

  38. Scott

    I have used FTM since the early days but stopped at FTM 16. I was going to buy 2008 but did not when I read all the problems presented in this blog. I’ve spent too much money on the ancillary products (world trees, SSN Indexes, et al) and am still very disappointed that the ability to import from these valuable data sources were removed from v2008.

    I have just built a new machine and have Vista installed. If I cannot get FTM 16 to work, I will move to another product; maybe MyHeritage. Until you all get this product back up to the same level as FMT 16 you will have continued to lose me as a customer.


  39. Paul

    There is another area that has been extremely frustrating and not specifically dealt with properly from a customer service aspect. When I bought FTM 2008 (January) it came with 6 months of access. With the program in its nearly unusable state and the continued delays of the appropriate patches, my membership keeps ticking away unused. I’ve lost over 3 months of usage so far…

    I brought this to the attention of Customer Service and they told me that I could still use/access so there wouldn’t do anything about extending my unused subscription. Incredulous! How can FTM tout the symbiotic relationship between the website and the program and then when it is inconvenient, say they are separate. I bought the program SPECIFICALLY because they are linked together and the apparent convenience it would bring. So, as far as I’m concerned if one link is broke, the entire chain is broke. No way I am going to duplicate my work in both when it already underway in FTM 2008. Importing/exporting Gedcom files between the two is not the answer either – too much data (and work) is lost in the process.

    Besides the program issues, this customer service gaffe is simply asinine. Do what is right and extend peoples memberships that have suffered through this.

  40. Barbara

    Last September I complained about specific features missing in FMT 2008 which were in FMT 2006. I was assured that they were working on a patch which would restore those features and that it would be ready by the end of 2007.

    Nine months later, I’m still waiting for those features to be restored.

    I haven’t experienced the crashes and instability issues other people have suffered through, but the features which were removed from the program were specific features unique to FMT and which I require for printing descendant charts.

    As a consequence, I recommend FTM 2006 to people looking for a genealogy program and explain why I do so. I also explain that that version probably is difficult to find.

    Fortunately for me, I haven’t uninstalled FTM 2006 from my computer and still can use it for what I require.

    So, when is the patch which restores my missing features actually going to be available?

  41. Ronald Chambers

    Batch installed. Rather poor day to release as you’ll have reduced staff on weekend to handle problems.

    Noticed right off that the leakage of other parameters into PLACES is not fixed. PLACES should be unavailable until fixed.

    Speed is much improved for the little I’ve used.

    RON C

  42. Robbie

    I think perhaps, I have been one of those complaining most about 2008. I want to say that this 3rd patch has made a significant improvement. MANY fewer crashes, though they still occur on occasion. The import now seems to work. I don’t think I have an instance of the failure to import source and media since installing.
    I do have a problem though. The relationship area doesn’t seem to work. Brothers and sisters are recognized. Spouses are recognized. BUT the parent child relationship doesn’t seem to be recognized. For example, both my son and daughter are listed as “unrelated person-natural”. This despite the fact that my husband and I are listed as preferred parents and are listed on the pedigree chart. What do I need to do to correct this issue? Did anyone else note this after installed 3rd patch?

  43. Debbie N

    After reinstalling FTM2008 numerous times I still cannot get the patch to load. Has anyone else had this problem? I had this same program before when it first came out, and finally got it to download after again numerous reinstalls per the support staff. I then tried to download the new service patch the program crashed and now I am back to square one. If anyone has a suggestion please post a reply. Thanks.

  44. Robbie

    I am going to copy and paste instructions I received from technical support regarding the patches. This was with patch 2, but I followed essentially the same technique with patch 3.

    The only thing I would warn you about is to be very careful with the reg edit. Do EXACTLY as the instructions say. Also, this is for a Vista machine, so if you are running another OS, you may need to call tech support and ask for Torrey. He was really good.
    Hope this helps
    Dear Robbie,

    We appreciate your message.

    First step:
    1) Uninstall FTM 2008 program (If still installed)
    2) Then go to Start, Computer, C: (Local Drive) and Program files.
    3) Delete the Family Tree Maker 2008 folder.
    4) Search for ‘AppData’ folder and then open the ‘Local’ folder.
    5) Delete the ‘The Generations Network’ item here.

    Second step:
    1) go to Start then ‘Search’ bottom left and type in ‘Regedit’.
    3) UAC message comes up and you want to ‘continue’ to open Registry Editor.
    4) Then top right click on ‘File’ then to ‘Export’ and give it a name of Backup and click on Save.
    5) go to the arrow next to ‘HKEY_CURRENT_USER’ then click on the arrow next to Software and find the ‘The Generations Network’ folder.
    6) Right click on that folder and press delete on keyboard.
    7) go to ‘HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE’ and click on the arrow then on the ‘SOFTWARE’ as well.
    8) Locate the ‘The Generations Network’ folder there as well and delete it.

    Third Step:
    1) Install FTM 2008 again.
    2) When you get near the end Uncheck the ‘startup program on finish’ then finish installing.
    3) Go to and bottom right click on ‘Get Patch Info’ and got to bottom section to the ‘manual install’ and download and SAVE to Desktop.
    4) Right click on the PATCH559.ZIP and choose Extract.
    5) Then right click on the Icon for Patch559.exe (red/yellow/blue icon) and choose ‘Run As Administrator’. This will install patch then launch the FTM 2008 program.

    This should work then at this time if not please callback Technical Support at 1-800-262-3787.

    If there is anything else with which we might assist you, please let us know (Tory with Technical Support at extension 20014).

  45. Paul K

    I would like to put in a request for a feature that was in FTM2006 but has been dropped from FTM2008.

    I prefer creating decendent charts without any word wrap, because it is confusing if it looks like:

    Jon Doe
    Birth: 01 Jan 1900 in Washington,
    District of Columbia, USA
    Marriage: 01 Jan 1925 in
    Wilmington, Deleware, USA
    Death: 01 Jan 2000 in Saint
    Paul, Minnesota, USA

    In FTM2006 decendent charts, there was the option to automatically resize the box surrounding each person’s information such that it would be just wide enough to prevent each line from wrapping around. In FTM2008, all boxes are always the same width. This means that when creating decendent charts, to prevent word wrap, you have to set the width of all boxes to the width of the longest line of information in all of the boxes. This ends up creating charts that are much wider than necessary, containing lots of oddly oversized boxes.

    This could be solved by either (1) restoring the option to automatically resize the width of each box or (2) allowing the user to manually specify the width of each box, instead of having one setting for all boxes in the decendent chart.

    I am hoping that the next patch will restore this feature.

  46. Derrick

    Seems much more stable at SP3… Though the relationship calculator broke as per comment 46 by Robbie

  47. Okay whats up with this crap?I buy your product and it won’t let me register with or anything……..It is very frustrating and a major disapointment…….

  48. Richard Denton

    If I have a problem that I want to ask a question about why ‘part’ of the program doesn’t work, where can I ask a question about why that part doesn’t work? Instructions are insufficient of how to access help about a specific subject.
    I have tried several times to add a family member to a specific individual and it doesn’t “take”.

  49. stephenHibberd

    Some major problems here with this new update.
    First off I’m using xp pro x64. I tried to update my 2008 FTM but crashed during the install. I have un-installed reinstalled many times now and FTM will no longer start up, crashes every time and this is without the new patch. It seems that the patch has done something to FTM stopping it from starting up.
    I am now left without FTM 2008.
    Is the patch been tested on x64 OS?

    Many thanks

  50. Robbie

    Take a look at instructions for uninstalling and installing in comment # 48. I am not sure if it will work with x64 OS or not, but it did help with Vista.

  51. Richard Denton

    I guess I don’t know the work schedule of those employed by Generations network. Seems like weekends are a pain somtimes to access records. I do a search. Find the record I wish to look at and it doesn’t open so I can. I t starts thru the process adnd looks like the page is opening. Then stops at about 1/4 of the indicator bar and does not finish. What can I do to help ???

  52. Pete Claughton

    I bought FTM 2008 at the recent Who Do You Think You Are Live show in London and have found it is a considerable improvement over my old FTM 2005 for entering and viewing information but I really miss the All-in-one chart. The guy who sold me the software said it would be included in a future update. Is this true , if so any idea when it will be available.

  53. Debbie N

    Outline Descendant report has Items to Include options–when I go to this report and click on items to add there is only the box saying Names options. I don’t have any items to include options box. I have upgraded the latest patch .965. Did I not get everything?

  54. Robert Stunell

    I have just installed SP3 (Windows XP)following receipt of the update being available. On startup of FTW I receive an error box “FTM.exe – Application error Application has generated an exception that could not be handled. Process ID= 0x1f4(500), Thread ID=0xc00(3072). Click OK to terminate the program. Click CANCEL to debug the program. In the meantime the program opens. If I click cancel it says that no debugger is found. After reading several forums I thought that I could go to control panel/add remove programs/repair. However I get an “error reading initialisation file” error and can not repair or uninstall. Help

  55. Richard Denton

    Name: $$OWT Name

    Would this cause the “Leaf” to stay on a ‘family tree’ list ?? Is at the bottom of the list of records that can be ‘attached’ or “ignored”.

  56. rebecca

    i need help in june 2007 i got a new computer dell 521 it had vista in oct 2007 i got the ftm 2008 and it would freeze and shut down. but i contunied to work with it. by march 2008 i was fed up with vista, so i went and got windows xp and installed it. now i can’t get ftm 2008 to work, it will not and i repeat not let me register it i have talked to the support team for one hour and forty-five minutes. they have walked me through everything they can think of to fix it. including having me uninstall my nortons. so i keep uninstalling and installing ftm 2008 thinking just once it will finaly work but it doesn’t. just so you know i have my info of over 5000 names and have been working on my history sence 1974 and its on backup but you know what it will not open, any sugestion.

  57. In publisher, I attempted to print out a proof before sending it in for print. I was aware that only 1-5 pages would print at a time but it takes forever to load and was unable to print from home at all. Any suggestions? Tried to follow the directions given in the help section but was not successful. We have a world deluxe membership. Your help is greatly appreciated. The file that contains the print project is called DeMaster / DeMeester family lineage. I look forward to your help.


  58. Richard Denton

    I am seeing “Error 404” messages in “Family view” & Flashview, I think being caused by “connection Leaf” still attaching Hint to records.

  59. AlanP

    Benjamin, in your list of SP3 enhancements you show
    “Inclusion of Married Name AKA and Titles in index ”
    I’ve looked for this but can’t find it – am I missing something here?

    Also, is there a way of running the equivalent of the “People – Merge All Duplicate individuals” that was available in the old versions? I don’t think that merging an external tree forces this internal check.

  60. Barbara Davis

    Is there any plan for FTM to add an automatic numbering system for each new member added into my data base, regardless of whether or not that member is actually a member of my tree? I might have three Ovid Butlers in my data base that, on the face of it, cannot be identified as different members of my data base from the index. How do I know which one I want? I go through the laborious process of assigning each member in my database an ID base (all 4500) a spirious number, sequentially assigned, by which I can easily identify them.

  61. Richard Denton

    The page cannot be found
    The page you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable.

    Please try the following:

    Make sure that the Web site address displayed in the address bar of your browser is spelled and formatted correctly.
    If you reached this page by clicking a link, contact the Web site administrator to alert them that the link is incorrectly formatted.
    Click the Back button to try another link.
    HTTP Error 404 – File or directory not found.
    Internet Information Services (IIS)


    Technical Information (for support personnel)

    Go to Microsoft Product Support Services and perform a title search for the words HTTP and 404.
    Open IIS Help, which is accessible in IIS Manager (inetmgr), and search for topics titled Web Site Setup, Common Administrative Tasks, and About Custom Error Messages.

    This comes up as a “hint” on several family members.

  62. Richard Denton

    The page cannot be found
    The page you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable.

    Please try the following:

    Make sure that the Web site address displayed in the address bar of your browser is spelled and formatted correctly.
    If you reached this page by clicking a link, contact the Web site administrator to alert them that the link is incorrectly formatted.
    Click the Back button to try another link.
    HTTP Error 404 – File or directory not found.
    Internet Information Services (IIS)


    Technical Information (for support personnel)

    Go to Microsoft Product Support Services and perform a title search for the words HTTP and 404.
    Open IIS Help, which is accessible in IIS Manager (inetmgr), and search for topics titled Web Site Setup, Common Administrative Tasks, and About Custom Error Messages.


  63. Richard Denton

    When the enumerators were doing their jobs, the abbreviations for the states of Missouri and Mississippi were the same. “Miss”. What is entered on the Census Record is ‘Miss’. There have been no connections to Leah(1870)/Leaer(1880)Thomason (Denton) made and no proving records of which is correct in either state prior to the 1860’s. The transcribers entered what they thought was correct when they were doing their jobs. “Mississippi”. Can assist in correcting or locating the correct information ?

  64. Nicholas

    I’m running FTM 2008 SP3 and am having troubles with the way relationships are calculated. First off some of my grand aunt’s who I’m doubly related to on both sides of the family show up as a more distant cousin than as the closer relation. This was never an issue in 2006 as the closer relation was always taken as the primary. It’s nice to see the secondary relationship, but the closest should always be displayed first and 2008 is not doing that for me. Also relatives who are only half related to me are showing up as fully related to me. This also was never a problem in 2006 and previous versions. Also an option for relationship display should be to choose between the great uncle or grand uncle style of relationship. This has never existed in family tree maker, but should at least be an option to turn on or off. Please fix these bugs immediately.

  65. Richard Denton

    Has anyone at considered removing “Ghost Towns”, places that no longer exist from searches ?
    i.e… Aylesworth, Oklahoma, Taloka, Oklahoma and so on… ?

  66. Rich Denton

    I have been allowing the connection of Family Tree Maker and the Census record search to proceed (Hints). What I don’t like about the addition to my tree are the Census records being added with a file name that makes absolutely no sense. A series of numbers.jpg that each one has to be viewed and renamed for me to understand what they are. As the record is saved to my computer, a suggestion by the program for the viewer to name the file as it is shown in the directory location is made to the viewer, so it will make sense when viewed later. Why cannot the program do the same thing. No family names etc… just the year, state and county (if included). I think it would make a lot more sense than what is done now.

  67. I have numerous older versions of FTM on my computer harddrive. Can I safely delete these versions? I am currently running Version 2008 and will be upgrading to version 2009.

  68. Mina Nemrava

    How do I move a person from one family tree to another with FTM 2009? I have started my mother’s family tree and she is already in my Father’s family tree (as well as my sibs, their spouse and children). Is there an easy way to copy them to the other tree?

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